What a lovely little film. Thank you MUBI for bringing this to my attention. There are some bits that don't quite work for me, but the overall tone and rich feeling of the piece makes up for those in spirit and substance. I think the last scene is one of the dearest, most truthful I have seen in a long time and a real lesson for filmmakers in how to end a piece.
I remember this film getting booed in the cinema I saw it at on it's first release. I guess sometimes there's no accounting for 'taste'. The film's tone is warm, understated, subtle and absolutely believable which makes it always a joy return to. The characters are, equally, fiercely passionate about their professions and each other, and played with a perfect balance of understated humour and conviction. A gem.
A wonderfully written screenplay that fascinates us with the stories and lives that circulate within the restaurant run by Shalhoub and Tucci. Most movies don't give a great deal of detail or conviction about the jobs that people really do. But in the time I spent watching this film, I understood their passion and their drive and why they wanted to continue working in a situation that was impossible to deal with.